The Shorts Black Eagle was a heavy interceptor used by the New Commonwealth.
During the summer of 1978 Operation Hickman was held in the North Atlantic off the Canadian coast. The scenario was based around the possibility of the New Commonwealth re-enforcing Canada in times of trouble. As usual the U.S. took a great interest in what was said and done in these manoeuvers and how the New Commonwealth responded to probing from its bombers and ELINT aircraft. USAF aircraft took off from bases in Ireland and delved deep into the Atlantic coming upon the Commonwealth carrier groups from the East and South, well away from possible New Commonwealth interceptors...or so they thought.
The Queen Elizabeth TrapEdit
The Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was steaming on a roughly Westerly heading after completing the days training schedule, she was broadcasting in a clear radio code and was using her search radar to sweep the area. In-effect she was lit up like a Christmas tree for the ELINT aircraft and like moths drawn to a flame they started to cluster around her.
Then the radio intercept ratings upon Queen Elizabeth heard it, the clear cry of a startled American pilot. A cry warning of air interception radar locking on. The consternation was infectious and a babble of voices was heard over the air waves warning of radar and of white painted aircraft closing in to the ELINT aircraft that had been lured in by the carrier. These interceptors drew along side the American aircraft where the crews exchanged waves and took hand held pictures of one another. One of the crew members of a USAF EC-135 aircraft later remarked "The crew could be heard laughing over the radio but most of all the aircraft had the God damned British roundel on their wings."
The British Ambassador reported that the lights in the Pentagon burned long into the night over the sudden appearance of this new long range interceptor. The USAF had no answer to this at the moment and their bombers where now vulnerable in places they had previously thought safe. Thus was the world made aware of the existence of the Shorts Black Eagle, (named for a soaring eagle which flies 100s of km every day) the new very long range interceptor and patrol fighter of the RAF and New Commonwealth air forces as well as the Commonwealth allies of Portugal and Poland.
The aircraft is portrayed as one of those on that first day high over the Atlantic, she has the standard mixed armament of 4 Skyflash missiles and 2 Blue Bamboo ii Nuclear tipped missiles. She also carries the two extended range tanks which enabled the plane to complete this mission successfully.
The Black Eagle was only ever a limited service aircraft and its numbers where always limited and never revealed by any New Commonwealth source, but the did become a familiar sight to US, Soviet and Red Chinese bomber crews far from base